Does The Keto Diet Help Balance Hormones?

When it comes to dieting, most people look to diet trends that offer easy incorporation without the need for complex math before meals or measuring and logging every granule consumed. One of the more popular diets followed is the ketogenic or "keto" diet. The keto diet is based on the principle of forcing the body to use fat storage for fuel instead of glucose or sugar through a process known as ketosis, as explained by Healthline. True keto diets focus on the individual consuming foods that are high in fat, moderate in protein, and have little to no carbs.

Though there are a number of diets that claim to be keto, only those which have moderate protein intake are considered to be true ketogenic diets, according to Forbes Health. Two of the more popular keto diet plans are the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet. Though keto diet plans are popular for their ability to increase success with weight loss, the diet formula was originally developed to help reduce episodes of seizures in patients with epilepsy. Read on to discover how the keto diet works and if it can be beneficial for balancing hormones.

How do keto diets work?

The ketogenic diet primarily focuses on strategies to change the body's fuel source, or what it chooses to use to provide energy for daily activities. According to Forbes Health, in a natural state, the body would prefer to utilize glucose as the primary source of energy. However, when glucose levels are low in the body, the liver can metabolize stored fat, creating an alternative fuel source known as ketones. Most keto diets focus on limiting the daily intake of carbohydrates (which are processed as glucose in the body) for consecutive days to force the body into a state of ketosis (via Healthline).

Once the body has begun burning stored fat, the body is said to be in a state of ketosis. Sounds simple enough, right? However, Forbes Health explains that it can take several days for the body to enter ketosis. In addition, ketosis can be easily interrupted by the individual consuming carbohydrates or even consuming too much protein, as explained by Harvard Health Publishing.

The keto diet and those diets that are "keto-ish" are touted for the ability to help individuals shed unwanted weight. But can keto diets help individuals to balance their hormones? The short answer is yes, but not in the ways you might think.

How does keto help to balance hormones?

There are a few things to know about how ketogenic diet plans work to balance hormones. First, the action of limiting the number of carbohydrates, especially processed sugars and grains, will naturally result in a lowered blood sugar level (via Forbes Health). Insulin is secreted by the pancreas to lower glucose levels in the blood, and when an individual reduces the number of carbs consumed, their blood sugar levels are naturally lower, resulting in less insulin, as explained by Healthline. incidentally, high levels of insulin are associated with increased levels of testosterone and estrogen, explains Hormone Wellness MD. Thus, using keto to lower insulin levels can help restore hormone balance.

Another element of keto hormone interactions comes from those foods allowed on the diet plan. The Atkins website explains that while some vegetables are not keto friendly, there are a variety that are recommended, like cauliflower, spinach, and broccoli. These types of vegetables are known for reducing and balancing cortisol, the stress hormone (via Dr. Lam Coaching). As increased cortisol levels in the body can lead to adrenal fatigue and a host of other unpleasant issues, the keto diet plan may help to improve regulation of this hormone in the body.

The keto diet isn't right for everyone.  Before you throw out all the carbs in your kitchen, be sure to discuss with your doctor to determine if a keto diet plan is recommended.